Review Summary: This is a rather large dud
Being that this was a surprise EP and there wasn't any behind the scenes content on the collaborative Bandcamp page I can't say much in the way of a preamble, so let's get into it. The project starts off with the opener "Vertigo" and the vocal sample that intros the track is a little corny and on the nose but it fits their style, so it's fine. I love the energy Aesop brings with his first verse as the instrumental travels from one midi-guitar chord to the next. It's a pretty simple progression and does the job well enough for the first half of the song, but as the the ethereal properties of the instrumental become more prevalent it starts to drag and feels as though the track has the life sucked out of it. Homeboy doesn't help this issue with his deadpan delivery. I don't know why they weren't able to keep a cut less than two and a half minutes interesting from beginning to end, but it definitely doesn't show promise for the rest of this thankfully short EP.
With the syrupy wobbling synth chords in the backdrop, softly picked synthetic bass notes, ethereal twinkles, and stocky acoustic guitar that comes in towards the latter portion of the instrumental for "So Strange Here" this beat is a way too sweet for Aesop and Homeboy's cold deliveries. The sampled hook adds a more Dream Pop style sound to the mix, and is aesthetically compatible with the instrumental, but it never feels right transitioning from any of its preceding verses. Then directly following this track is "Get A Dog" sampling the obnoxious "One Step Closer" by Linkin Park. This closing cut is unforgivable from all perspectives. The mix is way too compressed and constantly has Aesop and Homeboy switching in volumes. And being that they both already show nearly zero chemistry as a duo the last thing they need is plateaus of level separating them. The hook on this song is so clunky and long (even throwing in dogs barking to try and compensate for the weightless instrumental). The sudden and jarring transition from a syrupy instrumental to an NU Metal guitar riff displays the zero sonic consistency that is presented on this project.
I don't want to insinuate that it's all bad, because there are good things about this EP. Like I said, the first half of "Veritgo" isn't terrible and pretty much across all five tracks Aesop delivers fantastic flows and bars. The one song I can say works for the most part is "Environmental Studies." There's a classy piano piece in the intro (that is reintroduced later) and an interesting bass riff that runs throughout most of the track (it's interesting for tone and choice of notes, not compostion). The instrumental is both subtle and slightly off-kiltered and thankfully keeps things like guitar ethereal and sparse. This is the only song on the entire EP with a good hook. Although a little redundant at points it stays catchy and vibes well with the track. The only song that shows any chemistry between Aesop and Homeboy is "Katz" for their similar and fun way of starting each new scheme during their verses. But I don't know what producer Optiks was thinking with this mediocre beat. The percussions are decent, but the simple riff and thin organ are extremely annoying. And when there's a beat change Homeboy takes the opportunity to give the listeners a taste of his awful singing.
Overall this is a rather large dud from Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman. Excluding "Environmental Studies" all of the instrumentals were really bad and showed no sonic consistency. On "Skelethon" Aesop proved he's a rather competent producer, so I'm surprised he thought these were good beats and or didn't just grab 5 spare instrumentals of his own and use those. While Aesop brought his A game to these songs Homeboy came in with no charisma and a hit or miss set of flows. There was a pretty big lyrical gap between then two of them and they had almost no chemistry, so if Homeboy was completely removed and Aesop tackled these songs alone nothing would be missed and it'd be a much more bearable project.